Sunday 29 December 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and at my chamber all the day, both morning and afternoon (only a little at dinner with my wife alone), upon the settling of my Tangier accounts towards the evening of all reckonings now against the new year, and here I do see the great folly of letting things go long unevened, it being very hard for me and dangerous to state after things are gone out of memory, and much more would be so should I have died in this time and my accounts come to other hands, to understand which would never be. At night comes Mrs. Turner to see us; and there, among other talk, she tells me that Mr. William Pen, who is lately come over from Ireland, is a Quaker again, or some very melancholy thing; that he cares for no company, nor comes into any which is a pleasant thing, after his being abroad so long, and his father such a hypocritical rogue, and at this time an Atheist. She gone, I to my very great content do find my accounts to come very even and naturally, and so to supper and to bed.

12 Annotations

Maurie Beck   Link to this

Mr. William Pen, who is lately come over from Ireland, is a Quaker again, or some very melancholy thing; that he cares for no company, nor comes into any which is a pleasant thing, after his being abroad so long, and his father such a hypocritical rogue, and at this time an Atheist.

The first modern atheist who wrote about it was Hobbes in 1651 (Leviathan). Of course, atheism was an epithet that was flung at many who might have divergent religious beliefs. Being a Quaker or an atheist was equally detrimental to one's health.

Mister Max   Link to this

Just 4 years later the King gave a section of America as large as
England to the younger, Quaker William Penn. He sold a large section to various Welsh Quakers, most of whom moved here. And 300 years later, so have I.
It's nice to see his first mention!

Mister Max   Link to this

Just 14 (not 4) years later the King gave a section of America as large as
England to the younger, Quaker William Penn. He sold a large section to various Welsh Quakers, most of whom moved here. And 300 years later, so have I.
It's nice to see his first mention!

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Not his first mention, Mister Max, that occurred on April 22, 1661 (see http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/2514/#re... for a full list of diary references to him). But this one is particularly fun, since it's the first to characterize him as the person he famously became ("a Quaker, or some very melancholy thing").

Robert Gertz   Link to this

When we last we met Will Jr. he was dangerously Frenchifing if I remember. But it's the late 60's and all kinds of "movements" have come in to disturb the fabric social. Seriously it's rather fun to hear Sam's current take on Quakers as "some very melancholy thing"...Sounds like some of the sting has gone out of being one and they've become a bit out of fashion.

I wonder how Sam knows Penn Sr.'s an atheist? Sir Will up and pronounce it one bright morning's carriage ride?

"When a man has seen what I have seen at sea, Pepys..."

"Indeed, Sir Will..."

"...Not that I expect a man who has not been at sea as I have been to understand..."

"Right, Sir Will..."

"One finds oneself forced to come to terms with all that is base in human nature."

"I imagine so, Sir Will..."

"When Death stares one in the face, in battle, Pepys...As it did that fateful day on Jamaica..."

"Right...Sir Will..."

"...One realizes that there may well be no Divine Presence intervening in the affairs of bloody mankind..."

"Really, Sir Will?" Lord, all I wanted was a ride to Whitehall...

"...And one is forced to the conclusion that appeals to Providence may be of no use whatsoever, Pepys."

"I see, Sir Will...Yet, one could argue..."

"Of course, in these times, one must be circumspect as to one's own beliefs, Pepys."

"Aye, indeed, Sir Will..."

"Yet, I am not afraid to speak my mind...And to say before all the world...That doubt has crossed it..."

"Well, one could argue there's nothing lost in attempting to believe, Sir Will. Tis' great comfort to some..."

"Mere cowardice, Pepys...The craven attitude of small men...Not mine. Within proper circumspection of course, Pepys."

"Unlike young Will, eh, Sir Will?"

"Drat the lad..." grimly... "Of all things to proclaim oneself..."

"One must admire his courage in taking such a position, Sir Will."

"Nonsense, Pepys. He would be a Shaker...Quaker, whatever, yes...Well, let him. But let him be circumspect and cautious for the sake of family and friends."

"Admirably put, Admiral Sir Will."

"King does like the fellows, don't he?"

"At present they amuse him, so I'm told."

"Hmmn...Well, could be worse."

"Of course, Sir Will. He could be a less than circumspect Atheist."

cum salis grano   Link to this

Being an Atheist and being called one is not the same.
Being called one is often just a put down on his version of belief in the unknown.
Especially when used on all those that were known dissidents , like Bunyan and Tm. Vincent and the other 2000 preachers roaming the streets ejected from their livings for not adhering to the official party line.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Anachronism alert!!

Shakers were 18th century, RG - but you surely know this. WP would not have done.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Lee

Recently, on our national classical music programme (ABC Classic FM), one of the presenters assumed Shaker and Quaker were synonyms. AAAAAAAARRRGGGGH! Makes me despair of this country sometimes.

Sorry, off-topic whinge.

cum salis grano   Link to this

Quakers and and Shakers
OED has quite a few early references,
One For
1648 Scottish Mist Dispel'd 17 If the Lord in mercy doe not afford us more liberty..in things Civill and Religious,..we may be quickly reckoned amongst the new Sect of Shakers: you would make us tremble under your hands.
1654 E. PAGITT Heresiogr. (ed. 5) 136 The Shaker or Quaker.
another
1651 T. HALL Pulpit Guarded 15 We have many Sects now abroad; Ranters, Seekers, Shakers, Quakers, and now Creepers.

Margaret   Link to this

The last time I remember reading about young William Penn, he was a teenager breaking into the Pepys' bedroom on the morning of Valentine's Day, so that he'd be the first man that Elizabeth saw that day--that would make him her Valentine.
Looks like he's changed a lot in such a short time!

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I mean after all, Pepys...The boy might have been a Ranter...Or at least a Creeper. Now there's a circumspect lot."

"Point there, Admirsl Sir Will..."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I might have even dared hope..."

"A Ranting Fanatic Quaking Creeper, Admiral Sir Will?"

"Only a dream but...Naturally a circumspect one, Pepys."

"Naturally, Admiral Sir Will..."

(Thanks CSG.)

Paul Chapin   Link to this

One further note about the American land grant to William Penn the younger. It was not given out of personal admiration, or as a gesture of support to Quakers, but to settle a debt. Per Wikipedia (under "Pennsylvania"):

On February 28, 1681, Charles II granted a land charter to William Penn to repay a debt of £16,000 (around £2,100,000 in 2008, adjusting for retail inflation) owed to William's father, Admiral Penn. This was one of the largest land grants to an individual in history. It was called Pennsylvania, meaning "Penn's Woods", in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn, who had wanted his province to be named "Sylvania", was embarrassed at the change, fearing that people would think he had named it after himself, but King Charles would not rename the grant. Penn established a government with two innovations that were much copied in the New World: the county commission and freedom of religious conviction.

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